Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Talented Mr. Ripley

I loved The Talented Mr. Ripley when it first came out in 1999. I watched it again last night, and boy does it hold up! This dark, very tense, psychological thriller is brilliantly executed from start to finish.

Matt Damon plays Ripley with such a complex mixture of awe, admiration, sexual desire, jealousy and frustration. These qualities humanize him and make him a very sympathetic "villain".

Jude Law is amazingly loathsome as Dickie Greenleaf, the rich trust fund brat. Ripley met his father in the states, and the patriarch offered him a lot of money to find Dickie in Italy and get him home. Ripley becomes enamored of Dickie and his lifestyle, and the sexual longing and tension, add an uneasy dimension to the drama. There is murder. There is identity theft. There are twists and turns of plot, all of which center on the taut Dickie/Ripley dyad.

Gwynyth Paltrow was terrific as Dickie's girlfriend, and the tense dynamics between the threesome were fascinating. Philip Seymour Hoffman stole the show with his icky, arrogant, meanness.

Great film.

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